Brownie Carson was honored with the Natural Resources Council of Maine’s 2011 Environmental Lifetime Achievement during the organization’s annual meeting in September.
AUGUSTA — “For a lifetime of dedication, vision and success,” Everett “Brownie” Carson of Harpswell has been awarded a 2011 NRCM Environmental Award for Lifetime Achievement, according to a release from the organization.
“For 27 years, Brownie Carson was not just the heart and soul of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, he was the face of environmental advocacy in Maine,” the release states. “His extraordinary leadership was built on his ability to inspire, galvanize and empower Maine citizens to take actions on issues that are important to them.”
Carson accepted the award at NRCM’s annual meeting on Sept. 23 in Portland. The council hands out awards each year to individuals or groups whose actions have made a difference at the local, regional or state level in the protection of Maine’s environment.
“Brownie has been an ever-present force of nature, for nature; a constant reminder that Maine’s rivers and wilderness and the clean air, water and wildlife for which our state is known and loved should not, must not be relegated to the profit and loss columns of polluters,” said Lisa Pohlmann, who, after three years as NRCM’s deputy director, became executive director after Carson retired in January. “We cannot begin to thank him for all he has done to keep Maine such a special place. It is a joy and an honor to present him with NRCM’s Environmental Award for Lifetime Achievement.”
The organization counts among Carson’s successes: “beating the Big A dam that would have blocked the West Branch of the Penobscot River, and a Bucksport coal plant that would have polluted Acadia’s air; pushing for sensible legislation for recycling beverage containers; for phasing out toxic chemicals in consumer products; for safe collection of electronic waste; for investing in energy efficiency improvements, and much more.”
“In 1999 — the 160-year-old Edwards Dam in Augusta was removed to restore a free-flowing Kennebec River. Its removal marked the first time the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that the ecological value of a free-flowing river was greater than the economic value of a dam, and ordered a dam removed,” states the release. “This followed 10 years of hard work and determination by Carson and others at NRCM, working with the kind of strong and diverse coalition Carson has become known for building. As a result, alewives, sturgeon, and other sea-run fish, along with Osprey, Bald Eagles, and other wildlife, now flourish in an additional 17 miles of free-flowing river and beyond.”
His accomplishments reflect his ability to communicate easily and effectively about these issues, said Pohlmann. “His genuine warmth and caring nature, coupled with an uncompromising clarity on what needs to be done to protect Maine’s air, land, water and wildlife, earned him admirers from all walks of life and across party lines.”
Among Carson’s admirers is former Sen. George Mitchell, who was keynote speaker at the annual meeting when Carson accepted his award. Mitchell spoke of his longtime friendship with Carson and of his deep admiration for him.
For his efforts, Carson and NRCM have received numerous additional awards.
Though retired from NRCM, Carson has not retired from his “crusade for the environment, including marching in West Virginia this summer with hundreds of protesters working to protect Blair Mountain from the devastating practice of mountaintop removal mining,” states the release.